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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

It has been 18 years and 63 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Please Note: I have added a Contact form to my blog page. So far about a dozen readers have used the form. My apology to those of you who have used it. I am not deliberately ignoring you. I am taking it down until I get the bugs worked out. However, I am having problems with the app. It is not sending me your contact info or your message.

Councilmember Chavira when he first took office seemed bright-eyed and bushy tailed. How has his attendance at workshops, executive sessions and voting meetings been? I reviewed all of the city’s meeting minutes and it is possible that I could have missed some of his absences. Based upon a cursory review here are his absences since he took office:

2013

  • 4/9/2013       Special workshop followed by an executive session
  • 9/24/2013     Voting meeting
  • 9/24/2013     Special workshop followed by an executive session
  • 12/10/2013   Voting meeting

2014

  • 10/7/2014      Workshop followed by an executive session

2015

  • 2/24/2015      Voting meeting
  • 4/14/2015      Budget workshop followed by an executive session
  • 4/14/2015      Voting meeting
  • 7/20/2015      Special workshop followed by an executive session
  • 8/11/2015      Voting meeting
  • 8/13/2015      Special workshop followed by an executive session

2016

  • 1/28/2015     Special workshop followed by an executive session
  • 2/16/2016     Arrived late at 9:43 AM for a 9 AM meeting

There have been additional meetings, both workshop and voting, at which Sammy participated telephonically and was not physically present for the meeting. There is no way to determine an accurate count of his telephonic presence at meetings. These are more difficult to research by going through old council minutes.

Virtually every workshop is followed by an executive session. So not only has he missed workshops but at least 7 executive session meetings. Executive sessions provide information on contracts, land issues and personnel issues not available to the public. Keep in mind that a councilmember cannot and never participates in an executive session telephonically.

Over the course of the 3 years and 2 months of his term to date he has missed over a dozen meetings. In 16 years of service I probably missed less than a half dozen meetings. The councilmembers with whom I served also took their service very seriously and rarely, if ever, missed a meeting.

Every councilmember knows that it is critical to reserve every Tuesday for council business knowing that there will be a workshop meeting usually followed by an executive session or a voting meeting.

Is Sammy’s job conflicting with his ability to carry out his one major responsibility…his attendance at council meetings? Forget about participation and meaningful conversation. He is known widely for his habit of thanking people and not saying much else. If that is the case then he is doing a disservice to his constituency as well as all of the people of Glendale.

Sammy ran on a bogus platform of promises to the voters of his district…education, for which he had no policy making authority; his support of an out-of-state corporation’s successful bid to manage the city’s arena for $15 million dollars a year; his lack of representation of the people of his district and his failure to meaningfully reach out to his constituents; and his broken promise to not enter into sweetheart deals…unless it happens to be a quid pro quo with a fellow councilmember.

Sammy’s record of service as the Yucca district councilmember is a testament to his invisibility…at council workshop, executive sessions and voting meetings and in interacting with and representing the people of our district. The question is a valid one…Sammy, where are you?

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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The Glendale Monthly Arena Report for February, 2014 is now available. The $3 qualified ticket surcharge for hockey events is reported by IceArizona at $163,082. Divide that number by the $3 ticket surcharge and the qualified ticket attendance for the month is 54,360. The number of hockey events for the month was 4. Divide the 54,360 by 4 and the average qualified ticket attendance per game is 13,590. The publicly announced attendance figures are higher. If a game was sold out at 17,750 that means that approximately 4,000 tickets would be non-qualified, either comped or sold at a discounted price and the city does not receive the surcharge.

IceArizona, by comping and selling discounted tickets, is not generating the revenue it needs. Publicly they have announced that some of the games are the highest revenue generators to date. True enough but if they had sold more qualified tickets their bottom line would be stronger. How long before its losses reach the $50 million figure? Five years? Three years?

Let’s look at the non-hockey events. There were two in the month of February. The qualified ticket surcharge reported by IceArizona to the city is $59,884. Divide that figure by $5 per qualified ticket for a qualified ticket attendance of 11,976. Divide that figure by the 2 non-hockey events and there was an average of 5,988 of qualified ticket attendance per event. Again, the publicly announced attendance figures were higher but again, the balance of the tickets were either comped or sold at a discount, making them non-qualified ticket sales.

Parking figures are only reported by quarters of the year so the next parking revenue statement will be available at the end of April, 2014. The city continues to show a total loss of slightly over $3 million to date.

As has been reported, council budgeted $6 million in this Fiscal Year toward the payment of the $15 million annual management fee. The council meeting of March 25, 2014 will have council voting to transfer $6,680,160 from its Contingency account to cover the balance of the arena management fee due this year. The total management fee for this year is $13,551,370. It is not the full $15 million because the management deal did not become effective until August, 2013. The lower management fee for this year reflects the proration starting date in August. The city pays out $13.5 million and receives $3.2 million in “enhanced revenues” (that includes sales tax inside the arena) to date.  It looks like the city’s arena loss to date is about $10 million. This figure will drop with the reporting of revenues from the games played in March and April. Hopefully there will be some playoff game revenue as well. It is estimated that the city’s loss for the year will be in the $7 million range. Couple that with the $12 million annual arena construction debt payment. It isn’t a pretty picture, is it?

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

My blog produced a raft of emails indicating that I wasn’t very clear in my recitation of arena numbers. Here’s an attempt to clarify:

We will not know about parking revenues until January 31, 2014 because that number is due quarterly per the arena management agreement and will reflect October-November-December (4th quarter of Fiscal Year 2013-14) parking surcharges.

However, there is a line item on these monthly reports that troubles me. In none of the monthly reports does it indicate that IceArizona is depositing Supplemental Ticket surcharge revenue ($1.50 per ticket) into an escrow account.  It is an escrow account designed to supplement revenues to the city (If needed) to try to make the city whole for $9 million dollars. You see, this Fiscal Year 2013-14, the city council budgeted $6 million for arena management (keep in mind nothing is budgeted for FY 2014-15 because the budget has not been set or approved  by council and will not be until June 2014). Since the city only budgeted $6 million dollars of the $15 million dollars needed to pay IceArizona the arena management fee, the idea behind the surcharges and fees was to earn an additional $9 million dollars for the city. That would hopefully make the city whole for the $15 million dollars a year to IceArizona. If the $9 million wasn’t generated the Supplemental Ticket surcharge of $1.50 per ticket was to be given to the city to cover the short fall.  Here is the exact verbage:

Supplemental Surcharge

“9.1.3 Supplemental Surcharge. In addition, throughout the Term, a Supplemental Surcharge of $1.50 per Qualified Ticket (“Supplemental Surcharge”) shall be imposed by the Arena Manager for all Hockey and non-Hockey Events. The Supplemental Surcharge shall be deposited by Arena Manager into one or more an escrow accounts in the name of Arena Manager and the City, and shall be the property of each Party to the extent each is entitled to such monies under this Agreement as determined by Arena Manager and the City jointly (the Supplemental Surcharge Escrow Account”): provided that such deposits shall be held in accordance with and subject to audit pursuant to the procedures described on Exhibit “N” attached hereto (the “Supplemental Surcharge Procedures”). City shall have the right to draw upon the Supplemental Escrow Account within 60 days following the last day of each Fiscal Year, to the extent City received less than $9,000,000 in total revenue from operations at the Arena pursuant to this Agreement during the immediately preceding Fiscal Year (the “Deficit Amount”), as further described in the Supplemental Surcharge Procedures and in an amount not to exceed the total funds available in the Supplemental Surcharge Escrow Account at the end of such Fiscal Year. The funds remaining in the Supplemental Surcharge Escrow Account following payment of the Deficit Amount, if any, to City shall belong to Arena Manager free and clear of all claims of City and shall be disbursed to Arena Manager such that said escrow account is reset to a zero balance following the reconciliation pursuant to the Supplemental Surcharge Procedures at the beginning of each Fiscal Year. The Supplemental Surcharge amounts imposed by the Arena Manager which are the property of Arena Manager pursuant to this Section 9.1.3 are pledged to the City, as more fully described in the Supplemental Surcharge Procedures, to the extent of the City’s interest, with the City claiming no interest in the balance of such account. The Supplemental Surcharge Escrow Account shall be held in one or more (FDIC insured) accounts of the Arena Manager and the City jointly, at one or more Third Party financial institutions agreed to by the City and the Arena Manager. To the extent of any inconsistency between this Section 9.1.3 and the terms of the Supplemental Surcharge Procedures, the terms of this Section 9.1.3 shall control.”

Where are the Supplemental Ticket Surcharge numbers per month? There should be $8,206 for October; $101,644 for November; and $96,758 for December for a total of $206, 608 to date. So, where’s the money? Why no accounting in the monthly report? Why is there no indication that these funds have been deposited in an interest bearing escrow account? Could this be considered a breach of contract?

According to the Monthly Arena Revenues & Expenditures, Arena Lease and Safety & Security Agreements, a public document that will be used by staff in its presentation at the December 17, 2013 city council workshop on this issue, here are the monthly ticket surcharge revenues that are to be paid to the city. These are public figures provided by the city based on figures  provided by IceArizona. Here is the link: http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/agendasandminutes/Workshops/Agendas/121713-W05.pdf .

Month ending Sept 30, 2013:

Ticket surcharge Hockey ($3 per ticket)     $16,413 total revenue surcharge for 1 hockey game.

Divide $16,413 by $3 and attendance for this one game was 5,471.

Month ending October 31, 2013:

Ticket surcharge Hockey ($3 per ticket)    $203,289 total revenue surcharge for 7 hockey games.

Divide $203,289 by $3 and attendance total for all 7 games was 67,756.

Divide 67,756 by 7 games and average attendance per game was 9,679.

Month ending November 30, 2013:

Ticket surcharge Hockey ($3 per ticket)    $193,517 total revenue surcharge for 5 hockey games.

Divide $193,517 by $3 and attendance total for all 5 games was  64,505.

Divide 64,505 by 5 games and average attendance per game was 12,901.

Oops. I just checked the Coyotes website and it lists SIX games in November. Whose mistake is it? If it’s the city’s incompetence perhaps City Manager Fischer should fire someone else in the Finance Department. If it’s IceArizona’s mistake was it deliberate?

We’ve all heard the rumors about Anthony LeBlanc handing out 2,000 complementary tickets per game. Whether it’s true or not has no bearing on ticket revenues because they would be free tickets there would be no ticket surcharge. You attendance gurus out there better check your attendance figures because these are the numbers that come from IceArizona. After all, IceArizona wouldn’t low ball the numbers to the city only to exaggerate them for the media, would they? Nah-h-h-h-h.

By the way I ran into Mr. LeBlanc at a Coyotes game and had a few minute to quiz him on the numbers of the Coyotes deal. Mr. LeBlanc quite clearly stated to me that they needed attendance of 15,500 per game to “make it.” His number, not mine.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to :http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Repeatedly Councilmember Alvarez’ mantra is “I am an honest person.” She says it publicly over and over, at council meetings, workshops and recently reiterated the sentiment in a Glendale Star story. It’s time for the Truth Meter.truth meter 1

  • Norma’s home is a two story structure yet County Assessor’s records do not show that improvement and her home is still valued without the addition of the second level. One would think that in the name of honesty this would have been corrected years ago when the improvement was made or at the very least, recently, as this issue came to light.
  • At the last council meeting on July 2nd which included the Coyotes discussion and vote Norma was cautioned about speaking about the Beacon bids because they were Executive Session material. She said she didn’t care what others told her to do and that she would speak her mind. Yet revealing contents of a council executive session is a violation of the state’s Open Meeting Law.
  • truth 2What about her “District Meetings?” In no way can her “district meetings” be considered open to the public. One must RSVP to an announcement of her meeting by calling her office and then, to add insult to injury, one must be approved by Norma, in order to attend.
  • Norma is a “double-dipper.” Obviously she receives a monthly Social Security benefit and for all we know, she may also claim disability making that monthly check even sweeter. She also worked for the City of Glendale for twenty some years and retired as its Administrator of the Community Action Program (CAP). CAP is the city department that is used as a pass-through for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding the city receives annually. She is used to giving away city money to the poor. That job earned her a sizeable pension and accounts for monthly check number 2. As an elected official when she retires she will receive another pension check from the state’s Public Safety Retirement System—check number 3. Not bad, eh? Her retirement pay is probably more than most of her constituents make. Norma is doing quite well for herself in retirement and it’s no wonder she can afford to say that part of her agenda is urging the city to give more to the poor.
  • Norma has been an avid supporter of the Tohono O’odham’s plan to build a casino in Glendale. Why? She will say she does not support the city’s discriminatory acts toward the TO but what she does not acknowledge is that the TO have heftily supported not only her election bid through political mailings and solicitations of campaign contributions but those of her allies like Sammy Chavira. At some point she has to “pay the piper” and pay-back can be a bitch. We have every right to question her motives in her avid support of the Tribe’s agenda.
  • truth 3Norma has spent more time failing to make council meetings than attending them. Norma has failed to be honest with her constituency with regard to her health. Since joining council she has had at least two hospital stays with long recovery periods that precluded her attendance at meetings and conducting city business. Her constituents had the right to know that she could not perform her duties as expected of her. She has also on numerous occasions refused to attend because she did not like what was on the agenda and she sometimes walked out of meetings when she did not agree with a majority of council. Like a petulant child who does not like the way the game is being played she picked up her marbles and went home. Norma’s leadership and representation has been woefully inadequate and her constituents deserve better.

What Norma has failed to realize that we are judged by our actions and not exclusively by our words.  Norma’s actions point to a repeated pattern of deception…failing to report a major improvement to her home that would have resulted in a larger tax burden; failure to follow the state’s Open Meeting Law because it didn’t fit her agenda; failure to hold real district meetings open to all of her constituency; failure to acknowledge the financial support of the TO made to her and her allies; failure to acknowledge her physical inability to perform her job as an elected official; and failure to acknowledge her “double-dipping.”

It’s not surprising that Norma’s public rhetoric of honesty are not backed by her actions and that Norma and honesty are not kissing cousins – in fact they are complete strangers.

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